Today the FCC is expected to put out rules for internet carriers that are widely believed to support the concept of network neutrality. The rules would prevent companies that offer internet access from discriminating between content and service providers. Chairman Julius Genachowski promised as much to members of the House Subcommittee on Communications, the Internet and Technology at a hearing last Thursday.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have strongly favored such rules, and Genachowski has often pointed out to the wide proliferation of services coming from innovators of all sizes, but mostly from very small companies or individuals. Some of these have grown into the largest companies in the business. He believes net neutrality is critical to make sure innovation and entrepreneurship isn’t drowned out by large companies offering internet sites.
Net neutrality would also prevent carriers from favoring content and service in which they may have a stake.
Republicans have argued that enshrining net neutrality into the rules isn’t necessary, as there is no solid evidence that such rules are yet needed. They fear that the rules will stifle investment.
Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has been pushing legislation to guarantee net neutrality, but his efforts to make it bipartisan haven’t gone much farther than Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
RBR/TVBR observation: Fair treatment in internet carriage is very much a necessity for our own business. We also think that the internet is where the money is, and as long as that’s the case, the investors will work within the legal framework and do what they can to cash in.